It started with a “mommy” vacation to Florida.
That was where Christi Wedeking had her “light bulb” moment for downtown’s newest retail venture – Be Unique, a one-of-a-kind craft store. Wedeking was out with a friend and noticed a special retail shopping experience.
“Her town [in Florida] has these stores that had booths sectioned off for local people to sell their stuff,” Wedeking said. “Her whole town was full of these stores. When I came back, there was nowhere that my friends could sell their stuff. It just felt like this was somewhere we could do that.”
At Be Unique, the options for gifts and creations are endless.
The storefront, located at, 103 E. Bremer Ave., is divided up into two parts. In the front, full displays of local crafter consignments from handmade soaps to metal art to wooden signs and more can be seen. In the back of the store is the crafting nook, where paints, glitter, wooden shapes and various other art supplies are stored for all day make-and-takes.
Wedeking knows there is something for everyone in the front of the store, which is what she hopes customers also know about.
“I hope to get the word out that this is a unique place to buy gifts,” Wedeking said. “My love language is gifts, and I just like doing that. I feel like you can get something for everyone here. That’s what we are here for – to get that wide range of customer in our doors.”
Be Unique’s doors were first opened during Waverly’s annual summer retail event, Ridiculous Days, which fell on July 13 this year.
Being just a few months in, Wedeking has already booked several upcoming D.I.Y. classes, events where area crafters will come into the store and teach others about their artistic talent.
The upcoming schedule includes Harvest your Health on Sept. 19, Watercolor on Sept. 21, Pumpkin String Art on Oct. 3, Happy Scarecrow Canvas Painting on Oct. 6, Paint Pouring on Oct. 7, Christmas Truck Stencil Painting on Nov. 9, Snowflake String Art on Nov. 16 and Jingles the Elf Canvas Painting on Nov. 17.
By offering D.I.Y. classes at her business, Wedeking hopes to give people even more of a reason to visit Waverly’s downtown district.
“Hopefully it brings more people downtown,” Wedeking said. “I know that I have a bachelorette party that has chosen to do one of the D.I.Y. nights and then they are going to hop around downtown, go out to eat and to some bars. Once they are already here, maybe they will choose to do other things down here, too.”
Opening her business downtown, Wedeking is excited about being in one of the town’s most vibrant retail areas.
It’s already given her a special feeling in just the first few months of being a downtown Waverly retailer.
“I wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else,” Wedeking said. “It just fits when people are walking around with the atmosphere downtown. Everybody looks after each other down here, which I think is super awesome. I didn’t know that, until I opened the business. It gave you that downtown, small town feeling. I really do appreciate that. I know that I’m not here by myself and that everyone is here together.”
While the future is bright at Be Unique, Wedeking already has high hopes for her business.
From offering space at her business for bachelorette, birthday or other parties to being a place for self-coined artists to come together, Be Unique is just that – “a vessel that people can come to.”
“People are very excited,” Wedeking said. “People think is something that needs to be in town. It’s been a little overwhelming. I think people are excited about it and see it being bigger and doing some citywide initiatives. There’s never been one central location that can house all of those ideas, and they feel like that could maybe be here.”
For more information on Be Unique’s D.I.Y. classes or products, follow them on Facebook at Be Unique Waverly.